Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by KK4JSJ, Jan 22, 2013.

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  1. KK4JSJ

    KK4JSJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Last week I got around to sending out most of my QSL cards except I ran out of stamps and I had to redeem an IRC. Yesterday I drove to the post office not realizing it was a holiday but hey, the computerized stamp kiosk was there so I got all my Forever Stamps for the forseeable future bought....I was told stamps go up 1 cent starting February 1st.....but I didn't get the IRC redeemed so I had to go back today.

    Today I had to teach a training class at work from 8am to Noon and on the way home around 12:45 I walk into the Post Office. Yep, 37 deep but three people behind the counter...which is about 2 more than usual. I wait my turn and these people are clicking...they are handling the crowd with ease and professionalism...even warmth and almost a cheer in their voice....or maybe it was the contrast of just getting out of teaching a training class to two dozen people who absolutely didn't want to be there.

    So I get to the counter to redeem an IRC. I've never redeemed one before. I had a QSO with a guy in Japan who absolutely needed Kentucky for WAS and quickly Air Mailed me a QSL card and requested a quick turn around. To be honest, if it weren't for this individual request, I would probably still be looking at a stack of QSL cards that needed to go out and doing nothing about it. I asked if they took IRCs at this location because I believe I read somewhere on this site that some locations do....some don't. The older gentleman said they did but it had been about three years since he's done one. Bam...the wheels fall off. He can't figure out where they hid the button on redeeming IRCs on the touchscreen....he asks the lady next to him....and the guy next to her. The next thing I know they are all tapping buttons on the touchscreen trying to figure out.....meanwhile the line is 20 deep....then 30 deep...40 deep and I'm feeling guilty about holding up everyone's day. Then a nice lady comes out of the back to ask if anyone was simply picking up packages...noticed the problem and made a good attempt at figuring things out....however....she looked up...and told everyone to get back to work....looked at me...said "Your postage is good...sorry about the delay...we will figure this out later...however...we are marking your postage as good and have a nice day"

    I guess this will be one of the last moments of problems for them regarding IRCs since they are doing away with them...but has anyone else had similar problems when trying to redeem IRCs? I was at the point where I was simply going to pay the postage and keep the IRC as a souvenir. Probably should have done that in the first was a pretty and official looking document.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. W7UUU

    W7UUU Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The only time I tried in recent years they looked at me like I was from Mars and I just left.

  3. NY7N

    NY7N Ham Member QRZ Page

    I got the same reaction about a year and a half ago. One or two guys specified IRCs, so I ended up ordering a few online, used them, and now that I think of it I don't think I actually ever got my cards back with them anyway.

    So now it's all green stamps or buro for me. Well, and LOTW, which is my ultimate preference for award chasing. I do still like paper cards though.
  4. W3WN

    W3WN Ham Member QRZ Page

    The last time I had to obtain new IRC's, I ended up ordering them online. They came from Kansas City MO, IIRC, in about a week.

    With US IRC sales being discontinued as of next week, that is no longer an option, of course.

    Frankly, the few times I've been sent an IRC, I have simply set it aside. It makes more sense to simply buy the stamp, and then pass that IRC on for my own QSL requests to overseas stations. (At the moment, a stamp costs $1.05, and an IRC costs at least double that)

    The irony, of course, is that prior to the major IRC overhaul a few years back, most international IRC's were simply recirculated (at least within the Amateur ranks) rather than redeemed, domestically. Prior to them being assigned expiration dates, an IRC may have been bought 10 - 15 years back for mere pennies, but be worth it's "weight" as the equivalent of a current postage stamp whose face value was 10 or 20 times more. Now we (attempt to) redeem them more, since they're only good for a few years. Thus creating a bigger headache for post office branches that don't know, or don't recall, how to deal with them.
  5. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    As of 27 January, the U.S.P.S. will no longer ISSUE IRC's. (International Reply Coupons.) They will REDEEM IRC's for the foreseeable future. If you are "stuck" with a number of IRC's that you do not foresee using by the end of the year, a (properly informed Postmaster) at a local Postal station is authorized to "redeem" currently valid IRC's (those with an expiration date of 31 January 2013) for $0.98 EACH.
    Yes, that is a paltry sum for what they originally cost, and (as of 22 January 2013) will require an extra $0.07 for International postage, but that's the "rule." After 31 January of this year, expired IRC's will be worth their weight in toilet tissue (or less.)
  6. VA6AW

    VA6AW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Few months back I asked at the main post office if I could buy some IRC's. A strange look came over the gals face and she asked me what I was talking about. Tried to explain but nada, she called in a supervisor and he said he never heard of such a thing. Doesn't surprise me in the least with Canada post.

    So I go to by bank and ask them for some us currency. They start asking what I needed it for. Told them I wanted to sent some overseas to cover return postage. They refused to give me the cash stating it was illegal to send money without authorization. Seemed like I was going to be reported as some terrorist funder or something. Made a quick exit.

    Last few years this country has become messed up big time.

  7. VE1IDX

    VE1IDX Ham Member QRZ Page

    Must be your local post office and busy-body bankers. The bank has no need to know why you wish to purchase US or any other foreign currency. I have never been asked when purchasing US currency or British pounds or Euros. You may want it because you are taking a trip. Jeesh my little town of about 1100 people even know what IRC's are even if I am about the only one in town that uses them and then extremely rarely. As for the bank I woulkd have told them that it was from my business and not their's. I can't understand what they meant by it being illegal to send money without authorization. People send money all the time even though sending actual cash is not recommended.
  8. K8GU

    K8GU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I go to a "rural" (as close to rural as you can get around here) post office near my workplace rather than go to the (sub)urban post office near my house to avoid long lines of special-needs customers. I happened to have a couple of IRCs with me and tried to redeem them. The woman at the counter looked at me like I had two heads. She also looked at me the same way when I bought $40-something worth of airmail postage with green stamps a few months ago.
  9. AI4U

    AI4U Ham Member QRZ Page

    IF you have to step the post office worker through redeeming an IRC, these are the steps:
    Stamps and Merchandise
    Exchange, redeem foreign
    Input the total dollar amount of the IRC's ( right now its $1.05 x # of IRC's )
    Scan the bar code on the back of an international rate stamp
    Input the physical number of IRC's
    Then total it out and the total will show $0.00 on the screen..
    then your good to go...
  10. W6UV

    W6UV Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Now that IRCs are going away, how will DXers handle getting postage to foreign hams who cannot legally possess U.S. currency (greenstamps)?
  11. AI4U

    AI4U Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is a place here in the USA ,where you can purchase online, other countries stamps and have them mailed to you..Probably not every country in the world, but a whole lot...
  12. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do you have an example of a country where U.S. currency is illegal to possess?

    What some DXers (more accurately, stations DX to the U.S.) wish to avoid is the hassle in dealing with different exchange rates, or in some cases, DX stations have to make an effort to find a place that will exchange U$D for local currency, so that they CAN purchase their local postage. IRC's solved that problem.
  13. N2RJ

    N2RJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Cuba? Iran?

    In fact at one time in my old country, Trinidad and Tobago, you couldn't trade foreign currency unless you had a plane ticket. This resulted in citizens buying cheap tickets to places like Margarita Island (Venezuela) to purchase US dollars before the Government announced a budget where there would be a currency devaluation. That said I'm sure they didn't refuse US dollars, at least that made it past the mail thieves.

    As for the IRCs I would just sell them. You can get $2 or $1.50 for them which is more than the cost of a US first class stamp. Lots of hams want to buy them and I suspect they'll be exchanged among hams many times before they hit a post office for their intended exchange.
  14. W3WN

    W3WN Ham Member QRZ Page

    IIRC, India at one time had severe restrictions on the general populace holding foreign currency.
  15. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    CURRENT circumstances, not history. (I doubt Cuba would be able to function if $USD were illegal to possess, since many expatriates in the U.S. send funds to family members in Cuba.)
    Be aware, that regardless of the country of origin, the CURRENT, and only valid IRC's expire at the end of 2013, so you have less than a year to use them or turn them in. After 31 December 2013, they will have no more value than toilet paper.
  16. KK4JSJ

    KK4JSJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for this. I have just received another IRC and if print this advice out and take it with me to the Post Office it should save some time.
  17. N1EN

    N1EN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Last week, I stopped by the bank to pick up a supply of green stamps, to get caught up with DX cards before the postage rates go up again.

    The teller asked me, as he was double-checking his count of singles, "going on a cruise?"

    Since I was in a hurry to escape the Boston area before evening traffic got nastier, I responded "looking forward to it".

    (Now, if only I could get those last 9 cards for 5BDXCC...)
  18. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    That may help, IF the "postal worker" is willing to accommodate. The local "Regional Distribution Center" front desk can't or won't be bothered; they say they don't deal with IRC's. Fortunately, the somewhat less local branch Postal Office WILL exchange IRC's, even if they have to muddle through the system. They were the ones that informed me the USPS would not issue IRC's past 27 January of this year, and wouldn't be able to order any. (They WILL continue to honor IRC's, though.) ALL current IRC's expire at the end of this year (31 December 2013) so "use them or lose them."
  19. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    ADDED: MY error. The current batch of IRC's expire 31 DECEMBER, 2013, NOT 31 January. After the end of THIS year, they will be worthless, regardless the country of origin.
    And after 27 January, the redemption value will be the same, ($0.98) but International postage will cost an additional $0.08, due to the postage rate hike effective 27 January 2013 in the U.S.
  20. AC7DX

    AC7DX Ham Member QRZ Page

    They are not going away...USA wont handle them but others will.Current ones good till 2014
    I have many for sale at discounted price..EMAIL ME!
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